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Prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormality: the decision to terminate the pregnancy and the psychological consequences

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2002

Helen Statham
Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge


In the absence of any prenatal screening, some two percent of babies will be born with a structural anomaly; a further 1 in 700–800 will be born with Down's syndrome, with similar numbers having other chromosomal and serious genetic disorders. The prevalence of abnormalities in early pregnancy is higher because abnormal fetuses are more likely to miscarry than normal ones. A small number of women enter pregnancy at increased risk of conceiving a baby with an abnormality. They may have a maternal condition such as diabetes, need medication for conditions such as epilepsy, or have a family history of a genetic disorder ( Most abnormalities, however, occur in healthy, low-risk women.

Research Article
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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